In high school I was a distance runner on the track team. It’s been a while, but when the gyms closed down I decided to start running again.
Running has so many benefits aside from weight loss. For example, it can be very therapeutic. Plus, nothing beats that runner’s high.
When you first start running, whether you’ve done it in the past or not, you will have to build endurance. It takes time, but it is a relatively easy process.
When I first joined the track team, we started with a short distance and built it up over the course of several weeks.
I remember my coach telling us not to rest over the weekend. He said that we could only take 1 day off and if we took more time, we would start to lose the level of endurance we had built up.
I haven’t verified that, but my take away is this: it is easy to lose endurance, but that must mean it is also easy to build it. Just stay consistent and you will get there.
Methods to start running again:
- Run/walk– If you have a track near you, you could run the straightaways and walk the curves OR set a timer, and run for 1 min, walk for 1 min. Another option is to decide on a distance and run for as long as you can and walk the remainder.
- Start with short distances– Maybe the first week have a daily distance goal of 1 mile. On the track team, our first goal was 3 miles. It depends on your fitness level.
- Increase slowly– I would assign one day as your long day. Keep your daily mile goal the same, but have 1 set day where you do an extra mile. When that becomes easier, up your daily mileage and up your long day mileage.
- Run slowly. You shouldn’t be running as fast as you can. Run slowly to conserve energy.
- Take rest days– Contrary to what my high school track coach would say, I do think rest days are important. Listen to your body. Stay consistent, but rest when you need to.
- Warm up & stretch– Stretching will help prevent injury and sore muscles. It’s important to not stretch cold. I usually do a slow jog for about 3-5 minutes as my warm up.
- Choose your running path wisely-Harder surfaces can cause shin splints. The best surfaces to run on are a synthetic track, grass, or a dirt trail. The worst is concrete.
- Try some hills. Hills build leg strength and add power to your stride. Plus, it is easier to keep proper form on a hill because your heel will never strike the ground first.
- Try running with a friend.
- Crank up some music. Grab some wireless head phones and the time will pass so much faster. Did you know listening to music actually helps you push harder during a workout? It can also help you keep pace. I tend to run as fast as the beat of the music. Slower beat, slower pace.
- Pick a trail that has a cool end destination. How motivating would a run to a scenic lake be? I also love runs that aren’t a loop because it requires you to run back. Think about it, you have the most energy during the first half and then when you might consider giving up, you can’t. You’re not on a treadmill so you can’t just stop the machine. You have to run/walk all the way back.
- Spend more time on your feet in general. If it’s hard to get in the swing of things, just try to incorporate more walking into your day. 10,000 steps a day is a great goal. It is a lot, but it is doable.